Next issue October 22

first_imglArtisanal productionCan some of the speciality breads on the market live up to the claims that they make better bread?lRetarder proversWe review the essential kit for time-managing your bread production and look at options available on the marketlIBIEBritish Baker reports on the latest innovations on show at the recent bakery trade show, held in Las Vegaslast_img

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South Bend Common Council meets to discuss environmental plans

first_imgMaria Paul Rangel | The Observer Council members Broden and Voorde address attendees of the environment focused meeting at Council-City Building Wednesday.University students, seventh-graders, bikers, professors, mothers and restaurant owners, different people with wildly different life stories, came together as a community in order to tackle a single issue that affected them all: climate change.Enthusiasm filled the room as members of the South Bend community met at the Council-City Building on Wednesday evening with the South Bend Common Council in order to reconvene the conversation about climate change that began last week. In this particular meeting, however, the discussion centered not on the effects of climate change that were examined in the past week, but on the strategy that the city would implement as a result.Council member Jo Broden opened the meeting by recognizing the strong presence of the younger generations, as children, adolescents and young adults represented the majority of the attendants. Gleefully, the youth and older community members gave a round of applause as they proudly donned their bright green “Climate Champions” stickers.Broden said the meeting would consist on three parts: one where South Bend’s current actions would be explained, another where selected communities’ strategies would be displayed and one where the future actions to be taken in the city would be discussed.Therese Dorau, director of the South Bend Office of Sustainability, said South Bend has already taken several efforts to become more sustainable, including the purchasing of hybrid and electric vehicles, the implementation of recycling programs, the education of city employees on sustainability, the Green Corps program and the push towards alternative forms of transportation.“We have taken the first two of the four steps of the commitment. So our next step is to set our emissions target and make a plan to reach our reduction rate,” Dorau said.The University of Notre Dame’s Office of Sustainability’s senior program director Allison Mihalich proceeded to showcase the strategy the institution had taken to combat climate change. Mihalich said Notre Dame’s strategy was founded on a Catholic mission pressed by Pope Francis that consisted on small groups focused on seven important areas: energy, water, construction, waste, food sourcing, education and communication. Through extensive research and cooperation with faculty, students, experts, the Utilities Department and Student Council, Notre Dame was well on its way of achieving its long-term goal of reducing carbon emissions by 83 percent from its 2005 baseline, presently managing to achieve a reduction of 67 percent from the 2005 baseline.Dorau said two approaches towards climate change can be taken: one of mitigation, or preventing the issue, and another one of adaptation, or managing the effects. She said the most critical aspect moving forward is learning from other communities, an aspect whose importance she emphasized in order to reach a cost-effective solution tailored to South Bend’s conditions, capabilities and circumstances.Afterwards, the floor was opened for attendants to share their comments with the council, an opportunity that students, businessmen and group leaders seized in order to voice their worries and to even propose a few actions the city should consider.From placing composting bins along the city and planting trees to building greater infrastructure for biking and improving the South Bend Transpo system, several ideas were suggested at the meeting that demonstrated community members have for the environment. In the discussions, eminent importance was given to the role of education in tackling climate change. “If ignorance is bliss, then knowledge is responsibility,” Theri Niemier, principal of Good Shepherd Montessori, said in reference to the need of education when solving environmental problems.Though the issue discussed was certainly harrowing, the meeting concluded on a positive note. Broden and council members Jake Teshka and John Voorde said they are committed to making serious change for good.“I am part of that generation that messed things up, and it’s incumbent on me to take responsibility for turning things around,“ Voorde said. “It wasn’t too long ago that I needed to be convinced that climate change was a problem as opposed to maybe a natural cycle of the climate … I think that everything we do has to be looked upon how does it affect the climate and the environment and what we can do now to incrementally do positive things.”Tags: Climate change, Environmental Action, South Bend Common Councillast_img read more

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More GMP customers generate own renewable energy

first_imgGreen Mountain Power Corp,(Vermont Biz April 6, 2010) The number of Green Mountain Power customers using small-scale renewable energy sources to generate their own electricity has more than doubled since 2008, with the largest growth coming from customers who generate electricity with solar. Currently, close to 300 GMP customers have applied for and received state permission for net metering. Since net metering began in 1998, GMP customers’ projects account for nearly 3 megawatts (or 3 million watts) of renewable power.”Clearly many of our customers are taking advantage of technologies that have increased the amount of renewable energy on Vermont’s power grid,” said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power president and chief executive officer. “We have a strong commitment to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels during times of peak demand. Net metering allows customers to produce renewable energy, which has long-term environmental benefits for all of us.”Customers who want to generate their own solar, wind biomass, hydro or other renewable energy can participate in “net metering” — a process established by Vermont law that allows electric utility customers to generate electricity using renewable resources for personal use and “bank” any excess with the utility for limited periods of time.Through this process, customers can install renewable energy technologies such as solar panels or wind turbines. They pay their utility regular monthly service charges, but are billed for electricity only when they consume more power than they generate. If they generate more power than they need, they can “bank” that power with the utility until they need it, for up to 12 months.The bulk of GMP’s net metering customers, nearly 75 percent, use solar energy. GMP provides financial incentives for customers to install solar panels through its SolarGMP program, paying customers nearly 50 percent more than the net metering benefit. With SolarGMP, GMP also pays for the excess power generated, so there is no need for “banking” the excess. In turn, solar power generation helps reduce the utility’s need to purchase expensive market power and increases the amount of renewable power on the state’s power grid.John Pacht and Andrea Bayer, Green Mountain Power customers, recently installed solar panels at their home in Hinesburg. “Our new solar panels have significantly reduced our electric bills, thanks to the financial incentives of net metering and SolarGMP. We expect our investment in the panels to be paid back over time, and meanwhile we love knowing that the electricity we are using comes directly from the sun,” Mr. Pacht and Ms. Bayer said.”The increase in net metering is a sign of the significant interest and increasing use of solar generation in our service area,” Ms. Powell said. “We are pleased to see Vermonters take advantage of the growing number of opportunities to support sustainable energy practices that protect the natural environment of our state.”About Net MeteringNet metering — adopted by the Vermont legislature in 1998 — enables electric utilities to allow customers to generate their own power using small-scale renewable energy sources. Those interested in net metering must first obtain a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board. For more information, visit: www.publicservice.vermont.gov/energy-efficiency/ee_netmetering.html(link is external)About Solar GMPSolarGMP is a program created by Green Mountain Power to give residential and commercial customers financial incentives to install solar panels. Through this program, GMP pays customers a higher rate per kilowatt hour for the solar power they generate. For more information, visit: www.choose2bgreen.com/about-choose2bgreen/solargmp.html(link is external)About Green Mountain PowerGreen Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com(link is external)) transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.Source: Green Mountain Power. COLCHESTER, VT–(Marketwire – April 06, 2010) –last_img read more

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